The new world champions are the same as the old world champions, but first, one final obituary.
Ramble of the Day
The last team to be eliminated from this edition of the women’s World Cup, the Netherlands demonstrated the difference four year has made for them throughout the tournament. At only its second World Cup, they arrived as the reigning European champions; no cakewalk was guaranteed, but a deep run looked likely, and it surely came.
Entertaining with a pressing style, the Dutch deservedly won their group with wins over New Zealand, Cameroon, and Canada. Perhaps the team’s tournament should have ended in the Round of 16 after Japan dominated the second half and then conceded an unfortunate late penalty, but they remained convincing at times in future matches. Italy was relatively easily handled in the quarterfinals, and a semifinal berth some had expected was guaranteed. Again, though, they struggled against Sweden; the Dutch attack was stifled, but found an eventual stoppage time breakthrough.
In the final, the team came out a little bit differently but understandably so. Absorbing pressure and venturing forward on a counterattack, it was a plan somewhat successful on the part of Golden Glove winner Sari van Veenendaal. That said, further up the pitch, the team created little and eventually suffered the consequences.
Though inconsistent, the Dutch proved true the most common adage of the passionate women’s football fan: put in the commitment, and reap the rewards. As a result, the Netherlands look well poised to be a constant contender for years to come as a well-respected coach and world class players continue to keep up the momentum.
Plus, the Dutch have what looks like an extremely fun fan base.
Links of the Day
Karen Carney has retired after an 18 year career.
Transfer updates: Atlético Madrid has signed Álvaro Morata following a loan from Chelsea; Norwich has signed Aidan Fitzpatrick from Partick Thistle and Ralf Fährmann from Schalke on a season-long loan; Juventus has signed Merih Demiral from Sassuolo; Crystal Palace has signed Stephen Henderson on a free; Paris Saint-Germain has signed Marcin Bulka from Chelsea
Today’s longer read: Kim McCauley on the importance of the U.S.’ acceptance and embrace of the players’ LGBTQ+ identities for SB Nation